Vintage Engagement Rings vs. Vintage-Style Engagement Rings: Whats the Difference? (2024)

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by Suzanne Sachs 5 min read



Vintage and vintage-style engagement rings can both be beautiful options for the discerning bride-to-be, but what are the differences between them? Which type of ring is best to represent the love a couple shares and the promises they want to make to each other to spend a lifetime together?.


In this guide, we will explain the following:

  • Defining Vintage
  • True Vintage Engagement Rings
  • Vintage Style Engagement Rings
  • 5 Best Vintage Engagement Rings
  • Art Deco Engagement Rings
  • Vintage Topaz Cocktail Ring
  • Victorian Ruby & Diamond Wedding Ring
  • Vintage Open Meal Work Ring
  • Edwardian Sapphire Engagement Ring
  • Which Is Right For Your Engagement Ring?

Defining Vintage

The word “vintage” gets used a lot when referring to jewelry, clothing, interior design, and other fashionable items that are older than new items but aren’t considered old enough to be officially antique. In general, vintage items are at least 20-30 years old, but younger than 100 years. After the 100-year mark, items – including engagement rings – are typically considered antique.

The exact dating of vintage items is subject to some interpretation, and occasionally more high- end jewelry pieces or very trendy designs may be considered as vintage sooner as styles quickly evolve. This is true for designers such as Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Bulgari, and other very elite designers. Many of those designs, however, still have timeless appeal at any age, whether they are officially vintage or not.


True Vintage Engagement Rings

Today’s vintage engagement rings were crafted between the end of the Art Deco period in the mid- to late 1920s up until the mid- to late 1990s. This covers a wide range of changing styles, from the bold Art Deco geometry through the romance of the 1940s, the post-war mid-century modernism of the 1950s, the free-flowing nature-inspired designs of the 1960s and 1970s, and into the beginnings of the ultra-modern chic era.

Early in the vintage range many rings were still crafted by artisans, but later in the range, more mass-produced rings qualify as vintage pieces. They may lack the exact laser precision of the most modern diamond cutting and jewelry production processes, however, but they still show beautiful character and charm with decades of intriguing history.


The key to finding a true vintage engagement ring is to ensure the provenance, or ownership and retail history, of the ring. This can be determined through store records, receipts, maintenance and inspection records, wills, inheritances, and other information. The older a ring is, the more difficult it can be to ensure all the details of a ring’s history.

Today, many true vintage engagement rings are found through estate sales or pawn shops, but it is important to ensure their authenticity with appropriate independent inspections for quality and workmanship. Heirloom rings passed down from a parent, grandparent, or great- grandparent can be beautiful vintage options with the richness of personal history to make them even more meaningful.


Vintage-Style Engagement Rings

Vintage-style rings, also call vintage-inspired or retro rings, are not truly vintage in terms of their age. Instead, these newer rings are designed and manufactured with similar styles, though they are not, in fact, older rings. In effect, vintage-style engagement rings may have the look of vintage, but they don’t have the history that goes along with it.

Vintage-style engagement rings may have more modern, precise diamond cuts, or may even use lab-grown diamonds or diamond alternatives such as moissanite, white sapphire, or cubic zirconia. These rings don’t show the wear and patina of vintage rings, and because they are new rings, they don’t have the provenance of a true vintage ring.



5 Best Vintage Engagement Rings

There are many vintage engagement ring choices that can be perfect engagement rings. The most popular and stunning vintage rings include...

Art Deco Engagement Ring

Art Deco engagement rings are renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship. This vintage ring features a vintage Old European cut and includes intricate filigree work and milgrain engravings, showcasing the artistry of jewelers from that era.



Suzanne was amazing! I utilized the layaway service and it was a breeze. Ring made its way to Texas and was even more gorgeous in person."
 Chloe G verified buyer

Vintage Topaz Cocktail Ring

Choosing a 1970's vintage topaz ring is an environmentally friendly choice. It reduces demand for new mining and manufacturing, making it an appealing option for those who are eco-conscious.

1970s Vintage Rectangular Cut Topaz Engagement Ring 2.50 Ct

Victorian Ruby & Diamond Wedding Ring

Opting for a Victorian Ruby & Diamond Wedding Ring for a proposal is a bold and beautiful expression of your love and commitment. The vibrant color, timeless elegance, and symbolic meaning of this stunning ring are sure to leave a lasting impression and create a cherished memory of your special moment together.


Vintage Open Metal Work Ring

Vintage open metalwork rings are known for their intricate and delicate designs. The open metalwork, often featuring filigree or lace-like patterns, creates a distinctive and elegant look that is hard to find in more contemporary styles of engagement rings.


Edwardian Sapphire Engagement Ring

This Edwardian sapphire ring features a vintage oval-cut sapphire, complemented by delicate filigree work, milgrain detailing, and a focus on symmetry and fluidity, capturing a timeless aesthetic that is both classical and stylish.


I've purchased two vintage rings from Suzanne over the past decade and my wife has loved both. Great service, communication and speedy delivery.”

 Lee S verified buyer

Which Is Right for Your Engagement Ring?

Ultimately, whether to choose a true vintage engagement ring or a vintage-style engagement ring will be a personal decision, and you should select the ring you love the most. The availability of vintage rings may vary and true vintage engagement rings could be harder to find, depending on how any individual retailer sources their collection. When you find a piece you love as much as that special someone it will connect you to, you’ll know you’ve found the best ring.

It should be noted that true vintage rings will appreciate in value better than vintage-style rings, and are therefore a better investment in the jewelry itself, depending on one’s budget and the overall quality of the ring. In the end, however, the true investment is in the proposal and the commitment the engagement ring will represent, and choosing the best ring for you – whether it is absolutely vintage or vintage-inspired – is essential to have a ring you will love to wear for many years of happy anniversaries.

Vintage Emerald Cut Emerald Engagement Ring with Side Stones

Antique Engagement Rings For Everyone:

No matter which gemstone is your favorite, these time-honored gemstones have a rich history and individualized character and will continue to have a timeless beauty and elegant appeal that is part of a legacy to pass on to future generations. If you’re looking for a unique engagement ring that tells the world that you’re passionately in love, a vintage garnet ring is a stunning choice. Find your dream ring today!

Find The Perfect Antique Engagement Ring:

Vintage rings are prized not only for their beauty but also for their exquisite attention to detailing and design. If you’re looking for a ring with a sense of glamour, sophistication and vintage charm, explore our collection of Vintage Engagement Rings today!

Suzanne Sachs

Suzanne has always believed vintage rings can change lives. She's been in the jewelry industry for over 35 years, working with vintage jewelers, diamond dealers, diamond cutters, and gemologists. Suzanne started Artdecodiamonds in 2000 and understood the demand for vintage rings throughout the world. She ultimately started in 2014, and understands each vintage ring is a reflection of you – your history, your relationships, your style, your elegance and is honored to have the opportunity to help you showcase your flair in a unique and exquisite way.

Press Love:

Thrive Global

Art Deco Emerald Ring

Contact Suzanne

If you love vintage or eco-friendly jewelry please feel free to contact Suzanne or browse our collection of eco-friendly vintage engagement rings.

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